This large and exciting scene features an American Revolutionary War battle in Chesapeake Bay. With great color and lively brushwork this painting was done at a large scale which captures a grand vista of the Bay along with many small vignettes to draw the eye. No less than ten other ships surround the two combatant vessels as they exchange cannon fire. A small rowboat in the foreground has three men cheering heartily, as DEFENCE pursues the British vessel, her crew visible on deck along with great details like the ship's bell. Large sweeping scenes of naval action, are among the artist's best works and the depiction of an early Revolutionary War battle is another plus.
The reference book/catalogue raisonne on Leslie A. Wilcox by Frank G.G. Carr, former director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, has this work pictured as catalog number 254 and lists the painting on page 44 with the following history:
Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and the Coastal Waters of the Carolinas saw many a maritime conflict take place on their waters in 1776. Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia had many small and large vessels for defense, and a number of captures were made early in the year. In March, the British sloop-of-war OTTER, with several tenders and prizes came up Chesapeake Bay almost as far as Baltimore. The ship DEFENCE, under the command of Captain James Nicholson of the Maryland Navy, went out to meet the OTTER, drove her down the Bay, and captured her prizes.
The painting includes a first edition copy of this book, signed by L.A. Wilcox, which was limited to an edition of 600 copies.
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